Bay Daily frequently talks about the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state plan to restore the Bay and its rivers and streams. My colleague Tom Pelton and I often write about what federal, state, and local governments, businesses, conservation groups, and individual citizens are doing to implement the Blueprint by reducing pollution.
But take a look at what some of the region’s young people are doing to help move the Bay Blueprint along. Herewith a small sampling of recent student conservation efforts:
• Seventh-graders at Fredericksburg (Va.) Academy created a rain garden of native plants to capture and filter runoff water coming off school sidewalks. After being inspired by a school field trip to the Chesapeake Bay, the students designed and planted the garden to help protect the Rappahannock River, a major Chesapeake Bay tributary. Here’s what some of the students told the Free Lance-Star newspaper this week:
“We were hiking through there one day, and we saw how dirty the water was,” Aubrey said.
Lindsay added, “We’re making a small difference, but if everybody else starts doing what we’re doing, then we’ll make a big difference.”
• Earlier this week, third-graders from Eagle Cove Elementary School in Pasadena, Md., (above) put roughly 250,000 oysters on a sanctuary reef in Maryland’s Magothy River. The oysters were ones they had raised throughout the year in their class as well as those from the Magothy River Community Watershed Association. Click here for pictures and more.
Oysters won’t restore the Bay, but they are indispensable for a healthy Bay ecosystem. Oysters and oyster reefs provide critical food and habitat for lots of other Bay critters; they are virtual apartment houses for an immense array of aquatic plants and animals. And, of course, oysters filter the Bay of algae, nutrients, and sediment, helping clear the water so sunlight can penetrate and nurture underwater grasses and other Bay life.
• Dunloggin Middle Schoolers in Ellicott City, Md., are not only growing oysters for the Bay, they’re restoring streambanks, reducing erosion, and creating wetlands. Read more here.
• Students at Cub Run Elementary School in Penn Laird, Va., are using a grant from the Toshiba America Foundation to compost vegetated food waste from the school cafeteria. The project involves research on three different composting systems to determine which most effectively diverts leftovers and converts them into compost for the school’s vegetable garden. The goal of the project is not only to show students the possibilities of closing the loop with their food waste but also to provide them guidance for similar systems at their homes.
How does composting help save the Bay? The
less food waste that goes into the trash or down sink disposals, the less nitrogen and phosphorus that goes to landfills, septic tanks, and sewage treatment plants – and into our waterways. And it’s smarter, cheaper, and more sustainable to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
• Not sure what you can do to help implement the Blueprint and save the Bay? Just ask young people. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation did. Below are some of their suggestions, these from students at Manchester Middle School and Matoaca Middle School in Chesterfield County, Va.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation